Price Shopping is Now an Option in Healthcare, Thanks to change:healthcare

Check out the video and story below, a great bit of information from the company I work for, change:healthcare. We recently published our first quarterly HCTI – Healthcare Transparency Index – that shows you some of the trending data we are seeing from our massive data set from all across the US. The gist of it is this: you can shop for everything under the sun but healthcare. You can instantly lookup any Christmas present, car, can of soup, DVD… you name it. But in healthcare that has not been the case until now. change:healthcare works with employers and insurance carriers to show the true cost of medical services, dental services and prescriptions to employees before they have to spend the money. This is freakin’ awesome!

While the government claims to provide pricing for drugs and procedures, those listings only highlight what Medicare and Medicaid are willing to reimburse, not what those services actually cost. Hospitals, doctors and insurance companies provide patients with an itemized bill for care – but only AFTER the fact. The Healthcare Transparency Index, issued today by change:healthcare, is the first to provide healthcare consumers with ongoing trends data about actual healthcare costs – offering insight into critical opportunities for cost savings.

With more than 60 percent of employers in the U.S. expected to offer a consumer-directed health plan (CDHP) in 2011 as a way to curb costs, employees and their families will be increasingly accountable for “shopping” and paying for their healthcare – making it more critical than ever for them to understand the costs involved. To be issued quarterly, the inaugural Healthcare Transparency Index includes data derived from more than 1.3 million medical claims, totaling $220 million, from 90,000 individuals across all 50 states over a 12-month period. Key findings include:

  • Prescription drugs offer the highest opportunity for cost savings ($8 million across the HCTI data set), followed by dental, routine primary care physician office visits, psychotherapy, physical therapy and chiropractic. View Chart
  • Costs for commonly prescribed drugs can vary greatly. The following prescription drugs offer the greatest opportunities for cost savings for both brand names and generics – by simply switching pharmacies. In fact, an Abilify consumer could save up to nearly $2,500/yr by making a pharmacy change. View Chart
  • Wal-Mart, Target, Kroger, CVS and WalGreens top the list of pharmacy chains with the widest prescription cost discrepancies for both brand name and generic drugs. View Chart

President Obama’s Speech on Healthcare Reform – Could Use More Details

Last night, President Obama spoke on healthcare reform at a joint session for Congress. While I love a great presentation, which Obama always delivers, I was not completely sold on everything he was saying… but mainly because I could not personally review the documents :) If you did not see it, check out the NY Times video replay with a timed breakdown of talking points to catch up.

President Obama delivered some tough news to both parties saying essentially that he was not going to take shit from anyone, and that he was not leaving office until a healthcare bill was in place. He tried hard to combat all of the oppositions major problems with his proposed reform: not covering illegal immigrants, not covering abortion, giving coverage to all Americans as well as who was going to pay for the public program. For me, since I work for change:healthcare, a company that helps people save money on doctors visits and prescriptions, I would love to read the details of the reform documents.

You see, there are a lot of problems with healthcare. Most of them, in my opinion, exist because we Americans do not know (or care most of the time) what healthcare really costs! I hate to tell you, but your office visit to the doctor for your yearly physical does not cost $20. It probably costs more like $90 – $150 — and if you don’t have health insurance, or you have a high deductible, your cost could be $150-$200 or more for that office visit. And even that cost only covers the visit. If you have bloodwork or other tests, the cost is even more. Never is it $20. I could rant all day about this, but I will save you the pain.

The point is, healthcare reform is needed, and hopefully Obama is the guy to do it. but we need to know the details of what we are getting into, and that we will not be selling our souls to pay for it. Obama, shows the details!

What did you think about Obama’s Healthcare Reform presentation last night? What did you think about the GOP response? Were you happy with what you heard, or concerned? Please leave a comment and let me know.

CNN Uses change:healthcare to Show People How to Save Money on Healthcare Expenses (video)

Finally people are starting to catch on! The place I work, change:healthcare, is on a mission. That mission is to add transparency to the confusing world of healthcare and to help normal people like you and I make better decisions regarding where we spend or money for health related expenses. The truth is, you know more about a local pizza joint from the internet than they guy who delivered your child or prescribed your latest medication. That is just wrong… not to mention that there is a good chance that you paid too much money. This is where change:healthcare steps in.

Cant See the Video? Click Here to watch it on YouTube.
CNN found our website and understood the value immediately. Then, they featured us on their national CNN News program telling people that healthcare is confusing and you should use our site. Sweet! Checkout the video clip below for more information.

Where to find out more about Change:Healthcare

Confused About Generic Drugs? You Could be Paying 70% too Much!

Generics Guide

As many of you know, I am new to healthcare. I’ve never really cared much about the costs or prescriptions or doctors visits because I worked for companies that paid for most of the expenses if I were to ever need them. But in light of everything going on in the world today with small business owners being less and less able to afford health benefits for their employees, it is more important now then ever for us as educated citizens to be conscious of what prescriptions cost us.

Thankfully the new company I have come to work at, change:healthcare, has started taking the steps to educate us, the consumers, on how to work with our doctors to save money. One of the easiest ways (and the way that concerns most of us) is on prescriptions. The truth is, most name brand prescriptions are EXPENSIVE, yet many of them have generic alternatives. Here is a link to the change:healthcare field guide about how to ask your doctor about generics and about how you could save up to 70% on your prescription costs by switching to generics.

If you do nothing else, talk to your doctor about generic drugs to start saving money. The field guide tells you how to talk to your doctor and what questions to ask. Also, if you are interested, you can go the prescriptions section of change:healthcare and look up the drugs you are on to see how much others are paying for them, and where you could them cheaper too.

Links to Resources to Save Money on Generic Drugs:

New Job Official > I Have Joined Change:Healthcare

Ferf Headshot

Well, the news is official now. I left Mevio about 5 weeks ago to move back home to Nashville, TN and to start a new career…this time, in healthcare.

Through my early days of podcasting I was extremely fortunate to meet tons of great people. But in 2005 I was contacted by a gentleman by the name of Christopher Parks. At that time he was just a lowly podcaster to me (jab), host of a show called the BizCast (don’t look for it, you won’t find it. He pulled all the links down). Turns out he had a lot more to offer to the world than just a small town business podcast.

Christopher started the company I now work for as Product Manger, change:healthcare, out of frustration with the healthcare industry, and all the medical bills resulting from both of his parents unanticipated deaths within 1 year of each other. While this seems like a sad story (with no disrespect to Christopher or his family), it truly is a blessing to Americans everywhere who struggle with healthcare, related costs and confusion every single day of their lives. Because of this tragic event, Christopher was driven to make sure no one had to suffer through the confusion of paperwork, rejections and health jargon while dealing with sick and dying loved ones like he did.

You will no doubt hear more and more about this rising star, change:healthcare, in the coming months & years. We are growing explosively, releasing robust bill management tools and helping people save TONS OF MONEY on their healthcare costs every single day. But I will save the details for a later post.

For now, let me just say I am proud to be working with this company. They epitomize everything a company should strive to be: energetic, proud of their offering, revolutionary in their product and services, leaders in their field, and making a difference that is monumental to the growth and education of our nation as a whole.

If you are interested, you can read more about change:healthcare and the products and services offered here.

Links of Interest for this Post